Sunday, March 28, 2010

No More Drama?

As much as I LOVE Mary J., we do need a little drama in our lives. Hence...

...the drama of Holy Week!

Selling the Drama

I've already talked about the re-invasion of the 90s and how I have mixed feelings about it. But it's videos and songs like the one of this title that give me a little warm and fuzzy nostalgia. Oh, Live. Oh, grunge. Oh, junior high school with my baggy jeans, flannel, and Chuck Taylors...

We thought we were so revolutionary. Green Day, Nirvana... Kind of the beginnings of emo, no? Oooo...I feel a popblog coming on!

What's got me thinking of emo/grunge music? Well, it's the beginning of Holy Week, of course! The "drama" of our liturgical year is at its peak! Let the emo feelings and heartstring tugging begin!

I've had many a discussion that the two Masses of the year that people really feel the compulsion to go to Church (besides Christmas and Easter) are Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. Not because these are the days that we are reminded that we return to dust or that they mark the beginning of Lent/Holy Week. No. It's because these are the days we as Catholics get FREE STUFF.

The palm that you stick in your kitchen tucked behind the Irish Blessing or whatever religious paraphanalia might be hanging ("God Bless the Cook" or what have you...)and the ashes that you try to hide behind your bangs but not TOO much so because you want people to see you did your religious duty for the year.

Palm Sunday is an extra bonus because not only are we getting free stuff to decorate our homes with, but we get the DRAMA. A real-life passion play.

I hope this does not sound like I am mocking any of this. Maybe our humanness a little. But in the classes I am taking this semester I have learned that our need for ritual and drama is part of the liturgical deal and for good reason.

If you think about it, the memorial of Christ's Death and Resurrection becomes present for us EVERY DAY in the Eucharist at the Mass. We actively participate in each daily Mass with psalm responses and gestures...what makes Palm Sunday special?

The props. The parts. The priest starting in the back of Church so you have to crane your neck to see him. The congregation being cast in a role. Man, we love our drama. And it's only about to get more real as the week goes on.

I'm glad we start Holy Week with this drama, however. Lent has been a desert. An abscence of indulgence. So for one crazy week we get to indulge and pull out all the liturgical stops of lights, er...cameras? But most certainly action.

It's interesting, though, how the drama really is for us and kind of about us. It was the crowd that Sunday in Jerusalem that pulled out the palms and Jesus just kind of went with it. The second reading from St. Paul actually paints a very different kind of King:

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross
(Phil. 2:6-8)

We all know the many actions that take place in the "play" done on Palm Sunday. The Last Supper, Agony in the Garden, Christ being taken to Pilate, then Herod, then back to Pilate. The Way of the Cross, the Crucifixion, the prisoners' conversation with Jesus. Peter's denial.

All very familiar stories in and of themselves which give us many things to reflect on.

This year, I was struck by Jesus' responses to Pilate, the people, and Herod. Mainly because I have become so concerned about how Jesus is responding to me of late.

"When day came the council of elders of the people met,
both chief priests and scribes,
and they brought him before their Sanhedrin.
They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us, “
but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe,
and if I question, you will not respond.
But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated
at the right hand of the power of God.”
They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”
He replied to them, “You say that I am.”"
(Luke 22: 66-70)

Christ's response here is striking to me. "If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond..." Huh. Is this how He answers us sometimes?

The elders are looking for a straight answer, but it's true- they wouldn't believe it or accept it if Christ just came out and said that He is the Christ. Is it with us to? Does Christ sometimes give us this response because He knows in our hearts we are not ready or willing to accept the truth? (In much gentler, non-Jack Nicholson way: " You can't handle the truth!" )

I was also struck today by the character of Barrabas. If you have seen The Passion movie that came out in '04, maybe you remember how he was portrayed. He was pretty foul looking and more than a touch crazy. Serial murderers, I suppose are like that. Ugh. I kind of shudder just thinking about the character right now...all gross and crazy...

And the crowd picked him over Jesus. We picked murder over kindness and holiness. But how often do we do this in our own lives? Hopefully, not literally murderous deeds, but we choose the ugly, crazy sin over holiness because it doesn't inconvenience us as much as truth. (Truthbomb).

Lots to think about as we enter into this week of holy. May we not just sit back and watch the show, but be active participants and play our part.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Words of Encouragement

One of the perks of being a young, single woman is I CAN DO WHAT I WANT, yo! Well, within reason and within Church teaching, of course :)

I say this, because many of my nights are filled with graduate study classes, bars with friends, meetings, volunteer commitments, and the like. Never a dull moment! (Even our 'Wheel Watcher' nights are action packed, I assure you ;) Last week was no exception as I met a friend for coffee on a Monday night. And we shut the Starbucks DOWN! 10pm! Holla! Ah, we live a crazy life ;)

I don't think I take to heart moments like a simple conversation over coffee enough. They really are part of the 'authentic self' I have been called to reflect upon of late. For example, I like people! (er, well, for the most part ;) I like coffee! I like being out on the town and social. It's just how I do.

And God in His awesomeness has gifted me with not just ordinary friends to share these moments with, but truly extraordinary individuals who are also introspective and striving to be holy. Huzzah!

My friend and I on this particular occasion were talking about what we've been praying for ( I know. Who does this, right?)She was suggesting to me that I pray not just for charity, but for 'encouragement'. I had been praying for opportunities to minister and to love, and I believe God had answered those prayers (albeit, not in the way I had expected or thought ). Encouragement was a new concept for me though, because I do believe I am blessed with the encouragement of friends and others quite often.

But you can never have too much encouragement, right? And we need encouragement in so many areas of our lives. Our work. Our relationships. Our journey with God.

Okay, so flash forward to this past Monday when I was giving presentations to high school seniors. I was paired to speak with a Catholic missionary currently serving in Mexico. And when I say missionary, this is in the real-deal sense of the word. Like she is spending her time in a foreign land speaking to people directly about Jesus. Hardcore.

Now, that concept of being a 'missionary' is certainly one to reflect on and a post for another day...(I feel a part 2 coming on! you're welcome in advance ;) But as this young woman was speaking, I saw glimpses of myself. She reminded me of the good work I had once done and still want to do. There is a reason I've gone all the places I've gone and walked the path I am on. God still wants to use me. I still have a missionary heart.

It was the encouragement I needed in a different way. Not just lip service from friends (though lip service is always welcome...just saying. You interpret that however you want! ;) But an encouragement from God saying that I have done great things and still will be continually called to do more. That desire is part of my authentic self. Always has, always will be.

After the presentation, I felt very called to reflect in prayer, so I immediately went to the Adoration chapel at my parish. The chapel had just been re-done with a fresh coat of paint and the Stations had been re-hung, all good and ready for the praying ;)

I often would pray the Stations during my personal prayer time in the convent. I may have said this before, but it's just one of those forms of prayer where you CAN'T think about yourself. You just can't!

As I was moving along with each station, I noticed the encouragement even Jesus needed to receive. Or perhaps he didn't need it, but I am certain He appreciated it. St. Veronica wiping His sweaty face. The weeping women. His Mother. Even Simon (although perhaps begrudgingly) must have offered Him some kind of encouragement with his help.

As we continue on this journey, it's important to remember we are not alone. Even reading a simple blog can provide encouragement, and I'm grateful for those as well!
May we continue to encourage one another in word, action, and prayer this Lent.


Friday, March 19, 2010

What's a Gift Horse Anyway?

Last night, my roomies and I met for our monthly "Women's Prayer Group". The 3 of us make up about half of a group of young Catholic women who have committed to praying together once a month. Since none of our other lady prayer-groupers could meet with us last night, we went ahead and just met amongst ourselves.

First of all, can I just say that I recognize this is not normal. But how awesome? The three of us come together every once in a while for meals or drinks, have been known to host a GREAT party, and may or may not watch Wheel of Fortune on occasion (by that I mean, multiple times a week) in our Snuggies. These are common roommate activities, maybe even somewhat exceptional. But how truly exceptional are the roomies that pray together? Love it. Love them. Love God. Love everything about it.

My one roommate whose grandfather just recently passed away chose to lead us in our reflection and shared with us the reading she read at his funeral. It was one of the epistles (though I'm not sure which one- 2 Corinth maybe?) and its theme was generosity.

She also chose an excerpt from "Called to Love" by Jacques Philippe (Love him! "Searching for and Maintaining Peace" is my jam...) that basically expressed that we need to be open to both receiving AND giving in order to be truly generous.

I don't know if this is just our individualist culture or what, but it seems many people have a difficult time receiving. Our entitlement culture tells us that we should want things and are entitled to them, but when it comes to getting a helping hand from a stranger or picking up something we dropped, or dealing with a problem, how many of us are like: "nah, I got it. I got it." We are taught as Americans to "do it ourselves".

It's quite the paradox. We want and feel entitled to things, but yet, we don't really believe that we are worthy of receiving and often times don't know how to receive. Kind of messed. up.

I've also been amazed at how people don't know or recognize their own gifts. It's very easy for us to see the gifts of others. So much so that we can become envious or compare ourselves to others and their gifts. But the irony is, recognizing our own gifts and honing them is how we can be of best use to others and be most generous. It's not selfish to acknowledge and give time to our own gifts.

Now if you are like me, perhaps you have recognized some of your gifts but you don't really LIKE them. It never fails- every Christmas I get at LEAST one thing that I can't even fake a face for. I just have to say: "thanks! But it's going back."

I've realized I do this to God too. "Thanks, God! You've given me the gift of endurance! Perseverance! Awesome! They are going back."

"Oh! The ability to say-the-things-no-one-wants-to-hear. THAT GUY. Great. Thanks! But I don't think it quite fits..."

Can I exchange these gifts for maybe joyfulness? or peacefulness? How about serenity? You know, the gifts people LIKE to be around? Not being the stinky kid?


But such it is. The grass is always greener, so on and so forth. We want that which we don't have and envy it in others. But in order for our society and the kingdom of God to function, we really need to recognize our God given gifts, practice and use them, and then get ready to receive.

And in order to receive or be filled, there has to be an emptying out. Ah, I see what you did there, God. We can never get too comfortable with our gifts, because if we are doing it right, we are constantly pouring them out for others only to get renewed by their gifts in return. Kind of awesome. Okay, I'll buy it.

St. Paul even talks about the thorn in his side which he values as a gift because it reminds him to rely on God. You had to take it one step further, didn't you Paul? So even our weaknesses are gifts. Gee, thanks, Jesus!! You shouldn't have...

So, all is gift. I like it.

But if you find someone who is willing to barter the gift of say, oh, patience for a little bit of sassiness, you let me know ;) I have a surplus.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin Go Blah?

It's Erin Go Braugh! Not Blah. So, rejoice! ;)

A Reason to Rejoice

Today is St. Patrick's Day, and to me, it's a little like St. Valentine's Day (which we actually celebrate on the day the Church recognizes St. Cyril and Methodius...what the what? Think they appreciate good chocolate and a little romance as well?); it's really just a day we use a saint as an excuse to do what we want. Right?

Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing! I'm not Irish, but I can appreciate culture and what the day means to Irish folks. It's more a celebration of a heritage, a history, and a love for the drink ;) I can get on board with that.

Yesterday, someone asked me if I am Irish and if I would be celebrating today. I said I wasn't Irish, but I am Catholic, and that seemed a justifiable enough answer for both of us as to why I would partake in St. Patty's Day festivities.

This theme of 'justifiable rejoicing' kind of goes along with this Sunday's readings and the feast of Laetare Sunday. First of all, the priest was wearing PINK which is reason enough for me to smile a little (though, technically, it is "rose". Priests always like to remind me of that...whatever. It's PINK. OWN IT) And we interpret this as a reminder that though we are in a time of penance, we are still rejoicing.

Laetare Sunday kind of sneaks up on us. Suddenly it's like OH MAN we are halfway done with Lent! WHOO HOO! Rejoice! But it also calls us to remember, why are we doing this stuff during Lent anyways?

The Gospel this past Sunday was the Prodigal Son, which I recently blogged about, so I will not go too into detail on the reading itself, but it echoes of the reason(s) we rejoice: the Father's Love and His mercy.

Also, the Gospel reading reminds us why the Father rejoices too. He loves us! And He's gonna throw US a party because of it! Regardless of what we do, He rejoices when we come back to Him. He rejoices because we are dear to Him.

But do we even need all these reasons to celebrate? Do I need to justify my reason to drink a Guinness tonight or wear green? (I look re-uhl good in green, just saying. And I rock it quite often, thank you very much ;) Do we need that reminder to rejoice in Lent? (ps- the Church doesn't just stick Laetare Sunday in the middle of Lent as that reminder, there are other meanings OF COURSE. That's just the most often used interpretation)

I bring this up because in prayer this morning I found myself being like, "Okay, God. Hope, trust- these are GREAT themes. But I think I'm ready for something NEW to pray with. I need a reason to rejoice in prayer, in life."

I have friends and family members who have recently received great news that will bring great changes in their lives. REASONS to rejoice. Things that the world can point to and be like- that's worth celebrating! When the Prodigal Son returned to the Father, did he do so because he knew there would be a celebration? Nope. It was out of necessity, really. A call, perhaps. Regardless, he knew it was time to surrender. And this surrender was what the Father decided to celebrate.

Surrender is not a one time deal. It's constant. Daily. Moment by moment. And it's a release, an emptying. So really, we can be celebrating that effort everyday! The Father sure does...

Today's readings for "St.Patrick's Day" from Isaiah and the Psalms(really, the priest made no mention of poor St. Patty when I went to Mass today. #truthbomb. Though, I also was a little late getting there, so I may have missed it. #truthbombtakeitback ) were examples of rejoicing in the midst of having nothing really.

Isaiah 49:8-15 talks about Zion feeling forgotten and having our own mountains to climb (though God cuts a path through them for us. Hope! Win!) And we all know David was no angel.Even though both were probably in desparate circumstances (people turned against them, persecution, you know, the usual) they placed trust in God.

There's that TRUST theme again, God!! Hmmmm....

So perhaps we should celebrate today- which I believe the Irish do, though my knowledge on corned beef and cabbage is limited- our trust in the Father, our daily surrender, and His promise of hope to us.

Trust and hope. Trust and hope. You think I'd get it or run out of things to say about it by now? ;)

Happy St. Patrick's Day, all, and Happy Lent!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Biggest Loser Part 2

Last year, I posted about St. Paul being the "Biggest Loser" because he was happiest when he had nothing. Shipwrecked, locked up, but still "boasting in the glory of God" (like in Sunday's readings).

Was St. Paul a little cocky? Perhaps. But only because of what he received from his total surrender to God.

I still haven't totally wrapped my brain around this yet, but as I was packing up to leave Adoration this morning I got a little thought in my little head and I think it might have been- MIGHT have been- from God...

I was ready to say my goodbyes to Jesus as I ended my quick post-Mass prayer session, and I got that feeling- and maybe you've had this too- that He wasn't done with me quite yet and I had to stay for a second. Again, I got this little thought:

"If you are serving God and have nothing to show for it, you are doing it right."

Huh. There's a thought.

This is not to say I'M serving God correctly in any way shape or form. This is also not to say that those who have everything they could ever have imagined AREN'T "doing it right" in terms of Christianity. It was just a good reminder that Christianity has never been about the things we have, but ALWAYS about the emptying, the pouring out, the "last shall be first", and all that. The Biggest Loser. Right?

So just a quick post today for any of us who may feel like losers ;) or looking for something tangible to show the world. Those things are certainly gifts, but so is the mystery (which you are SICK of hearing me say, I'm SURE).

And especially at this time of Lent we remember the emptying that Jesus did as an example for those who choose to follow Him:

He said to them, 'Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.'
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.
- Luke 9:3-6


Monday, March 8, 2010

Oh Well?

When I googled the words "Spring Up O, Well" this randomly came up (along with some awesomely awkward youtube videos of that song. Oh, man. If you find the one with the shirtless guy praising down by the river, you let me know. I'm just glad our Church services have shirt requirement. Just saying)

Anyways, this cake signifies nothing about the following blogpost, and I'm not even sure what it means on stand-alone merit... Oh, well?! ;)

Spring Up, O, Well!

I know I've been blogging like a feen lately. I think the coming of Spring is certainly stirring in me. Though you wouldn't have been able to tell for most of yesterday. I was a little ill and sat around looking like death warmed over for 3/4 of the day...doing my taxes of all things. Yup, death and taxes indeed.

I finally got off my butt to go to Mass around 6pm. The Mass I went to chose to use the Year A Cycle readings (the RCIA candidate option) instead of the normal Cycle C for this year. AND I'M SO GLAD THEY DID.

Saturday (as you know) I was feeling good and positive about my state in life. Feeling all lovey dovey about the Father's love, even! So much hope and trust!

Amazing how quick a little stomach bug (and the devil) can get you to mope about as if the messages of hope and love never happened.

So, I was needing a message of hope- AGAIN. And blammo! There it was in the readings!

First reading: "In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?...Is the Lord in our midst or not?”

Oh, man am I good at grumbling!: "Why did You, Lord, do this that or the other?? Why did you ever make me leave/go to this that and the other place? Are you just going to leave me here to thirst??"

I love how Moses is like, "what do I DO with these people?" And God works pretty quickly in this case (clearly, not always how he likes to work, but again- He knows what we need ;). Maybe to cut Moses a break (not Moses' fault the people are finicky and fickle! Humph!) But maybe to prove to us that He won't let us go thirsty.

In fact, in he second reading from Romans St. Paul says: "...God proves his love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Christ's life, death, and resurrection is the Father's gift to us in times of doubt, in times of thirst.

And I also loved this: "..we boast in the hope of the glory of God. And hope does not disappoint."

Oh, St. Paul. Always boasting. But if you are going to boast, the hope of the glory of God is the thing ;)

I totally appreciate the Church's ability to tie all the readings together. Where the Israelites are thirsty and grumbling for water in the first reading, Jesus presents Himself in the Gospel as living water, able to quench our deepest thirst. This certainly demonstrates the Salvation History we honor particularly at this Lenten time.

He meets a Samaritan woman at a well and- not only is he starting up a conversation with a woman (gasp!)- but a woman of a different culture than His. Mindblowing! ;)

And then he starts telling her this:

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

I like this image of a spring of water welling upwards. God's just storing up all kinds of good things for us in our own respective wells. It's bound to overflow, surprise, and bound to be exactly what we need to be satisfied.

This message of hope, and trust, and fulfillment of thirst is certainly one I needed to hear this weekend. We all have our thirsting and longings. And Jesus knows this! He knew what that woman and his apostles should hear at that moment in the Gospel. He knew that I needed to hear those particular readings as opposed to the normal cycle readings last night at Mass. This gives me hope and ability to trust again. And above all, the knowledge that HE is the gift and only thing that can keep us from thirsting again.

Right now, I'm sure most of us are longing for a different kind of Spring and the warmth and positivity that comes with it. I believe that we will be satisfied very soon! The weather is promising! But it's also important to remember Lent actually means "springtime". So we aren't waiting for springtime- it's already here!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Message of Love

So apparently, I'm on this taking a song and relating it to me and Jesus kick. This is not, as we know, a new thing for me as half these posts are popular song titles that come to me in prayer. But I also attribute it to discussions with friends and this awakening of my analytical side again.

Today a couple songs were running through my itunes after spiritual direction this morning. But this one really struck me:

A Message- by Coldplay

My song is love
Love to the loveless shown
And it goes up
You don't have to be alone
Your heavy heart
Is made of stone
And it's so hard to see you clearly
You don't have to be on your own
You don't have to be on your own

And I'm not gonna take it back
And I'm not gonna say I don't mean that
You're the target that I'm aiming at
Got to get that message home

My song is love
My song is love, unknown
But I'm on fire for you, clearly
You don't have to be alone
You don't have to be on your own

And I'm not gonna take it back
And I'm not gonna say I don't mean that
You're the target that I'm aiming at
And I'm nothing on my own
Got to get that message home

And I'm not gonna stand and wait
Not gonna leave it until it's much too late
On a platform I'm gonna stand and say
That I'm nothing on my own
And I love you, please come home

My song is love, is love unknown
And I've got to get that message home

So good, right? I know I joke alot about having a heart of stone, so this hit home, perhaps particularly to me :) Can we picture God saying this to us? God clearly "on fire" for us? Not "taking back things He's said" or what they might mean, but telling us those things because He loves us?

Of course, not all the lyrics literally translate- God is fine without us. He's GOD. But because He loves us, He WANTS us. So that line, "I'm nothing on my own" probably is more our line of surrender to Him, but also that while He doesn't need us, He doesn't want to be alone up there in heaven. He wants us.

So, this song came up on my itunes, and then I began to read the readings for the day. They are all readings of God's MERCY. From the first reading from Micah:

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt…who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, and will again have compassion on us…” - Micah 7: 15, 18-20

To the Psalm: The Lord is Kind of Merciful Psalm 103

And the Gospel is the Prodigal Son that I know gets played out but for such a good reason. It's such the ultimate example of how a lover feels about the beloved. The Father totally is singing that Coldplay song in His own way to the son:

"While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him." - Luke 15:20

Kind of like Chris Martin's "I'm not gonna stand and wait. I'm not going to leave it until its much too late." The Father comes running at us with His love.

Okay, so how come we can't always see it? And how come it seems like He IS waiting to come running at us sometimes?

It's like I said last post, it's usually our sin and our humanness that get in the way. God is always running at us with open arms in one way or the other, perhaps not just the way we think.

My spiritual director explained the beauty of the Father's love and His plan to me in a beautiful way today. It's like our lives are a tapestry. And the Father is looking at it from the side we see displayed at museums. But we see it from behind, all the threads that don't make sense- that don't seem to form a picture. But if we try to cut the threads or rearrange them, it will alter the picture that God sees.

I must admit, these songs of love and these beautiful woven tapestries are images that are hard for me to dive into for some reason. Alot of us can't believe that God or anyone showers us with such love or sees such beautiful things in us. Why is it hard for us to look at beauty? Especially when it pertains to us? Our culture has MUCH to do with it, but I promise not to go on that tangent.

I just am- like the 5+ feet of snow we got this year- starting to melt away some of these parts that I thought frozen. And as I observed the other day (and tweeted on Twitter...yeah, I'm such a nerd): when the snow melts, it's good, but it kind of leaves a big ol' mushy mess. It's gross. No one likes to look at it. But it has to happen if the snow is going to ever leave...

God knows what He's doing ;) May we let Him embrace us where we are at.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Salome's Sassiness (or The Perfection of the Plan ;)

God really has been working over-time lately! Or maybe my ears are just finally open to hear. Probably the latter.

Okay, so I've been praying/talking about mystery and accepting that mystery as GIFT. Today, Jesus gave me a little gift by surprising me when I went to pray with ADORATION! Surprise! Love it when He does that.

I sat myself down in front of the Blessed Sacrament and was just trying to acknowledge and call to mind that this is JESUS in front of me. That He is right here with me (and always is) but is revealing Himself to me in this way at this moment.

I wanted to be overwhelmed with emotion. I wanted to shed a tear. I cannot even count the number of times I've pulled a "Lindsay Bluth" from Arrested Development this year, trying to force myself to cry:

(I wanted to find the actual pic of the scene I'm talking about, but you'll have to settle for Lucille's winking face. It's about the same concept...)

And this one of Lindsay and GOB just for fun ;)

Anyways, so I'm there in the chapel trying to cry, when I finally realize the Spirit's just not moving that way today, and move onto Scripture. And the Gospel has TRUTHBOMBS for me all over the place. This still doesn't move me to tears, but definitely convicts me of His presence, His action in that moment. He always knows what we need!

Today's Gospel is the one where Salome (I used to giggle each time our teacher for Synoptic Gospels would say this woman's name. It always sounded like "Salami" to me ;) COMMANDS JESUS to make her sons, James and John, sit at His right hand with jewels and crowns, and to drink the cup He drinks.

Oh no she didn't! Who does she thinks she is? Who COMMANDS Jesus to move and do stuff for them? Who...oh, right. I do.

My friend and I were just having this conversation the day before, in fact, about asking God for things and how that while Jesus does tell us to ask things of Him, there is much more freedom in openness. It is better to just be open to whatever God has for us than to ask for specific things. There is still a let down if the thing we are asking or "commanding" for isn't "gifted" to us. How many times have I recently fell in this trap?

And Jesus answers Salome (heh) with, "can your boys even handle the cup I drink?" (okay, I paraphrased there) And the answer is of course, "no"- well, the boys say "yes", but Jesus knows the Truth. And it is then that He tells them this:

"My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

Right. It's not part of God's plan. So we can ask all we want, and God certainly wants us to speak to Him, but He's got something brewing up there for us and its usually perfect (though not always convenient! That's for sure! ;)

In fact, in the very next breath, He's telling the apostles they will have to serve one another and that the first of them will be last. Who wants to sign up for that?

But are we willing to go along with it if it's part of the plan?

That's up for us to decide. We have the free will to trust it or not.

Before Salo..okay, James and John's mama...bends Jesus' ear, Jesus actually pulls over the apostles to tell them that He will be condemned to death. It's kind of even more ridiculous that James and JOhn's mama asks what she does of Jesus after the apostles of just heard what is to become of Him.

It's also a good example of this idea of mystery being revealed to us before we are ready to understand it. Here, Jesus is essentially giving the apostles and us what we want- He lays it out and gives them the plan. But they don't understand it yet because they haven't experienced it.

This is what I was talking about last post and what I'm discussing in my classes about mystery. Jesus most likely IS revealing things to us like we want Him to, but we are not ready yet to experience the plan and therefore are inable to put the pieces together.

It was pretty perfect timing, this Gospel was today. Not surprised. That's how He do.

Oh, and also, the first reading- short as it was- was also uber convicting.

Jeremiah's enemies plan to bring him down by using his own words against him:
"And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word"

Yipes! Makes ya want to choose your words carefully...especially when speaking in His name. I feel really convicted to pray for the misunderstandings and words that have been exchanged because of the Archdiocese of DC's choice to pull services due to the new same sex marriage law in DC. Please join me in prayers of healing for our Church, for the people they serve, and for all.